Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday Trivia

The most expensive one of these ever made was covered in diamonds, and sold for $85,000 - tell me what IT is!




Gabbi x 3

Cindy V.



Suebaby x2

Kristen x2



Friday, September 29, 2006

Tis' the season to write a grant (and other ramblings of my mind)

'Tis grant writing season at the Mayo Clinic.

Honestly, truly, positively, this is the most stressful part of my job -- by far.

My boss, Dr. K___ is submitting a grant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Failure to get the grant onto a Fed Ex truck by Monday night will result in failure to get the millions of dollars from the NIH.

I called around this week. The last Fed Ex truck leaves Rochester at 9 p.m. That means that we now have just three full days to finish this sucker, bring it to the Fed Ex man, and wave to it as it leaves for Bethesda, MD -- home of the NIH.

Why do I hate grant writing? Let me count the ways:

  • Deadlines. Deadlines stink. They ultimately create a reason to wait until the last minute. If the deadline was a day sooner, we would get the grant done a day sooner. So why can't we just pretend our deadline is earlier to eliminate the stress? Well, unfortunately, the other institutions, that we are waiting for information from, also know when our deadline is, and therefore respond accordingly.
  • The NIH creates new rules and new forms and new criteria every year. You are supposed to, somehow, miraculously, keep up with every single new form and criteria and rule, and master these despite the fact that you only submit a grant once or maybe twice a year.
  • Charts in Microsoft Word. Have you used these much? Those stupid things fly all over the place! I would love to use Publisher, however, we also use a reference manager (Endnote)which isn't friends with Publisher, and therefore forces me to yell at charts that disappear, hide behind tables, and get stuck in the dead space in between pages.
  • Fatigue = poor performance. It's just how it is. The more tired I am, the more sick and tired of the grant I am, the more I manage to make mistakes in my editing.
  • Researchers from other institutions who don't want to give stuff to us until T minus 3 days and counting. Everyone thinks that their multi-million dollar grant is more important than ours. Geesh.
  • Long hours. I have done nearly 34 hours at Mayo during the last five days (Monday through Friday). It is now Saturday and I will probably do 4-5 hours today and tomorrow. That's 44 hours at a job I normally only put 24 hours into. RLSF works with me, and I do a lighter load for them, however, that is still a lot of hours. It flashes me back to coaching and teaching. How did I do that for so long? I have no idea.

Today, as I mentioned, is Saturday, and JB's brother Matt is returning to Florida this afternoon. I plan to work a few hours, then drive with JB and Matt up to Minneapolis, get some lunch, take Matt to the airport, and hopefully hit the MOA (Mall of America) for a few minutes. I need to look for some shoes for Keith and AD's wedding, and my foot size limits me to just a few stores. One of these stores in Nordstram's Rack in the MOA. I will also probably hit Tall Girl while I am there. They have pants longer than I need there! (I should, however, add a side note, that I HATE the name of this store. I just love walking around with a bag screaming my body size. Like people didn't know I was tall before I held this bag. I looked around but didn't see a store called Very Short Woman. I guess they do have a Big and Tall men's store. Okay, so I won't complain.)

Anyways, after our jaunt around the mall, I will probably head BACK to work at Mayo. Most likely, church will be out tomorrow as we return to try to polish this sucker off.

JB starts his Emergency Department (ED) rotation Monday. I think this should be a fun rotation for him. He gets to do an ambulance ride along and his shifts are only nine hours which means, even when he has a few overnights, he only has to be up a maximum of nine hours (instead of 36 or whatever it is.) The bad news is, he really doesn't get many days off, however, with those short shifts, I should be able to see him plenty.

Following the ED rotation, as I briefly mentioned before, he will be on a reproductive endocrinology rotation. This should be pretty interesting because this is the month that I will be doing all my "stuff". I am excited about JB taking a turn on this rotation. It is an elective which he chose for two reasons. One of the reasons is that it counts as a surgery elective. Now JB likes surgery, however, his surgery rotations have included surgeries that take 9-12 hours! That's a long time to stand there holding a retractor. Surgeries like the one I have take an hour or so and mean a lot less time on your feet.

I truly do not know how John did these long surgeries. You are scrubbed in so you can only scratch between a certain section of your body. You can't go to the bathroom. You can't sit down. I asked him once what he did during this time, and he said the ony thing you can do is try to imagine you are somewhere else. Now, one time, they were strapped for doctors, and JB was able to scrub in on a "whipple" (is this how you spell that JB?). He said that those hours FLEW by. But unfortunately, the people on down the totem pole, often end up holding a retractor for hours at a time. And I thought coaching a three hour basketball practice was bad! Yuck!

The other reason is that he gets experience with infertility, something he will see a lot of, unfortunately, as a family practice doctor. I also think he has a special gift now, of relating and talking to these women.

So now that I thoroughly jumped topics in this post, I might as well jump again, and discuss our next cycle which is about to start. We go in and see the doctor on Friday at 8 a.m. to sign off on all the surgery stuff and how many embryos we are going to fertilize (which we still haven't decided.) Ultimately, we would like to have at least 3-4 more chances with this next cycle. We feel like we should get more embryos since they will probably use the ICSI procedure for sure (although we don't have a "severe" male factor issue like this site talks about). So the question is, do we then still tell them to fertilize 14 with the hopes that instead of , like we got last time, we get more like 8-10? Or do we go up a little bit or even drop a bit? We have to talk to the doctor a bit before we make this decision.

I must admit that at this point, it is to difficult to imagine that IVF can work. However, I know many women who got pregnant after 3, 4, and 5 tries. Either way, we both decided that we feel like 2 1/2 tries isn't really enough to adequately say that we have to give up on IVF. The whole time we have done this, we have tried to not let money be a deciding factor (and JB is much stronger about this than I am). I don't want to ever say that we didn't try again because it cost too much and that wasn't worth it. I don't think we will ever feel like our child isn't worth this money if the procedure works. I do know my approach to this next cycle is different. While I am excited, I am guarded.

Well I should take a shower, quit boring you, and head into Mayo. I'm sure I'll write more about IVF during the next four weeks, as we prepare to go at this again.

I got my leg back!

JB and his brother Matt last Christmas.

Jb is home!
Honestly, truly, is there anything else I need to say? The moment he walked in the door, I instantly felt better. I have realized, throughout this infertility journey, that JB and I, who have always been the best of friends, have grown even closer than we already were. I think back to when we first started trying to have children and definitely recognize that our marriage would not have been what it is now had we had a child when we thought the timing was best. John is absolutely my best friend, my rock. I said the other day that when he left, I felt like one of my legs was ripped out from under me. Last night, I felt like I was able to stand again!

Besides the Lord, John is the only one that has taken each and every step of this adventure with me and understands exactly what is happening in my mind. He helps to distract me with jokes and stories and dinner. Last night we talked forever about their camping trip. No fish the entire four days, but tons of fun, and his brother Matt even took a little (accidental) swim. Now that's not much fun when it is forty degrees outside.

Anyways, JB took pictures but they are not digital, so I will get them on here as soon as he gets them developed. He and Matt said it was weird to revert back to a "regular" camera after using digital for so long. "We have no idea if the pictures are any good," Matt joked.

I wanted to ask your prayers this week, when you are praying for me, as I hope you do, to add Tim and Jenny to your list. They are our new friends at Eglin Air Force Base that we met through our mutual friend, Roberta. Tim and Jenny will find out early next week if their first try with IVF worked or not. If you thought my battle has been tough, try losing all your paperwork in Hurricane Katrina, and having to start over -- and start over in Texas, not in the state you live in! Ugh. Anyways, we pray fervently that her two little sticky babies are thriving away. Praying for you Jenny. You need to have your own child so that you, the fervent prayer warrior, can concentrate all your barren-womb prayers on me! (Just kidding of course!)

Here is my "theme" verse today. If you are looking for something to pray for me or something to pray for yourself if something is worrying you, here's what I plan to remember all day:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

Oh and, crud, both John and his brother Matt had heard of the word "juke". What is wrong with me? Bara, this is proof, as you said, that just because we speak English doesn't mean we know all the words -- I am constantly learning new ones. Keep working at it. You are getting better every minute.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dave and Lesley are the best!

My friends Dave and Lesley are the best! Last night they invited me over for dessert and games. Even though I didn't manage to win even one game of Sequence (Lesley took home the trophy with three wins), I had a great time, and it was a welcome distraction after a very long week.

One good thing is that work is so unbelievably busy. Grant season at Mayo is extremely stressful. I'm unable to think much about myself at all during the work day. I work non-stop and even contemplate skipping lunch because it would take too long!

It's when I get home that the days have been hard. So Dave and Lesley helped eliminate this part of the equation by having me over -- for oreo ice cream and oreos themselves no doubt!

Thanks so much for being such good friends guys.

Last night I also had my bi-monthly counseling appointment. My counselor doesn't think I need to come too often, so we just schedule it every few months so I can check in. Grecia is fabulous and is a good listener. Although last night I did a lot more crying than talking. Either way, she is excited as well that we are trying this again and gave me a few good books to help myself with the mind games.

Another great friend asked me last night if it was the dissapointment in the past or the fear of the future that has me struggling these last few days. I think it is definitely the fear of the future. I'm not really sad about what has happened. It's just difficult to think about what might happen.

The trick is completely turning this over to the Lord. If I know he has my best interest in mind, then "letting go and letting God" is the key to the whole solution! Now, does anyone know the magic words to doing that? If you do, fill me in. I could use some help there.

Today, JB comes home. If you can't tell, I am very excited about this. I can't wait to have him back at home and hear all about the trip. I will post pictures of their trip (if he took them as promised ASAP!)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


You might do this at home, but nearly 3/4 of us say we'd never do it while on vacation - what are we talking about here?

Past winners include:

Gabbi x 2
Cindy V.
Suebaby x2
Kristen x2

Special Verses

It's a good thing I wake up a lot during the night. At three a.m. I woke up and realized my fan wasn't on. That's because the electricity had gotten knocked out again during a storm. The last time this happened, JB was also out of town. I finally tracked down my phone so I could set my phone alarm and then headed back to bed. This morning I have been wandering around resetting all the clocks and trying to fix the motor on the fish tank.

Yesterday was a rough day again for me. After doing some RLSF work, I decided to spend the evening compiling some of my favorite scriptures in one place both for me to read and for visitors to read both today or in the future. These are directed toward my issues, however, anyone can find comfort in the words. Pick some of your favorites. I will keep the link on the right side of the page so you are welcome to access them anytime.

Oh, and thank goodness, JB comes home tomorrow! I miss him so much and not being able to talk to him is even worse.

Also, at noon today I will put a trivia up, so look for it!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. " Matt.11:28

"Wait on (hope in) the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart." Psalm 27:14

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?" Romans 9:20

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. II Tim. 1:7

God will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Heb 13:5

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. I Cor. 14:33

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:28-29

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, i will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.
Isaiah 25:4

The testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing
James 1:3-4

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, although there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Hab. 3:17-18

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13

Give an ear to my words oh Lord, give heed to my sighing. Listen to the sound of my cry, my king and my God.
Psalm 5:1

He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.
Psalms 113:9

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut. 31:8

Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus. “But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” John 9:3

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hands and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Rom. 8:28

Then the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’” Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Gen. 18:14

I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jer. 32:27

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Heb. 11:1

If we are faithless, He will remain faithful.
II Tim. 2:13

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Phil. 4:12

Jesus replied, “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand."
John 13:7

The secret things belong to the Lord our God.
Deut. 29:29

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5

. . . and the Lord remembered her . . . Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son.
I Sam. 1:19

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn. Is
aiah 51:1

Look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. Isaiah 51:2

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. Isaiah 51:6

Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over? Isaiah 51:10

The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:10

I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass. Isaiah 51:12

Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. Isaiah 54:4

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb. 11:1

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. James 1:2-4

Do not be anxious about anything, bu tin everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Okay, question for you all.

Did you know that "juke" was a word?

I'm not talking about "juke" as in "juke" box. I am talking about the word "juke" as in: "to make a move intended to deceive (an opponent)." or "a fake or feint, usually intended to deceive a defensive player."

Question: how does a Division I basketball player go her whole life up to this point and not know that JUKE was a word -- a word that means "to make a move intended to deceive an opponent"?

Last night, my dear friend Lesley took me out for a pedicure. It was a welcome break. Except for the conversation I had to have with the nail-lady about "do you have kids?" and when I answered no the question then, "do you have any plans for children?", it was one of the most relaxing evenings I have had in a long time. We followed up our pedicures with Nick & Willie's pizzas at Lesley's house and a game of scrabble. (And, no, we did not play "Best Friends" scrabble like Dave plays with Lesley. Sorry.)

Okay, my point.

Lesley used the word "juke" while playing Scrabble, and couldn't believe that I had never heard of "juking" out the defense. What? What was she talking about? We had just about agreed that this was a "California-thing" before Lesley looked it up on and proved to me that I had played basketball for ten years with only the word "fake" in my repertoire. What had I missed out on?

Okay be honest fellow athletic-readers. Did you know that "juke" was a word?

Monday, September 25, 2006

A little rougher day with some little bits of sunshine

JB left this morning. I am so happy that he is getting to take this camping trip. He loves to do be outside, and there are very few things he would rather do then spend a few days in nature. In addition, the guys he is going with are all so wonderful. I know they are going to have a great time.

Unfortunately, his departure isn't the best as far as timing is concerned. I didn't realize how much he helps stabilize me until they pulled away this morning, and he wasn't there to stabilize me. I felt like one of my legs had been pulled out from under me.

So, needless to say, today hasn't been as good of a day as the previous days. Today, is a little harder. However, my dear friend Lesley is taking me out for a bit of pampering at the salon this evening as well as a dinner, and I must admit that has really given me something to look forward to today.

I spoke with Mary this morning. She is the nurse in the IF clinic who has been there longest, and she really knows the answer to everything. If I call and ask a question that another nurse doesn't know the answer to, she immediately refers to Mary, "because she knows everything."

Mary called, and we talked, and, she gave me some great news. They have decided NOT to use the birth control pill to "down regulate" me. Down regulation is where they completely shut my ovaries down so they stop producing any eggs. There is another way to "down regulate" and with the hopes that it will help prevent migraines, they have decided to give it a try. It involves a different combination of drugs. Mary assured me it was a proven technique and that it should work just fine.

More good news? Dr. C. also said I could regularly decrease my Metformin from 3 pills to 2. He said he understood that the new drugs thrown in cause me to get major GI upset from the Metformin, and while I was hoping he would say I could eliminate it altogether, cutting the dose "officially" (since I end up cutting it myself because I can't handle it) was another nice treat.

The third bit of good news? We are on the calendar for another fresh harvest. November 6-10, we are going to have another try. Mary said, "That means you could find out you were pregnant by Thanksgiving." It's hard to believe that one year ago, I was in Chicago with the family, grieving another failed attempt, and trying as hard as I could to get through that day without crying. (I didn't make it as Sarah can attest to.)

There was some other news which I am not sure how to take. They are going to dilate my cervix again prior to the attempt. Now, in case you forgot (because I didn't), my last transfer was not very much fun, and they did not dilate me prior to this transfer. They did dilate me prior to the first transfer, and it was much smoother. So I think I am happy they are dilating me, it's just that having this done, is, well, at the very bottom of my list of "fun things to do on a Friday afternoon."

Mary was very sweet as we talked. She told me knows that I have been at this for a long time, but she encouraged me that people do get pregnant after failed attempts and that, if I could handle it emotionally, I shouldn't throw the towel in quite yet. I really appreciated this. I asked her if she could tell me a few success stories, and she did. I needed some encouragement.

I also looked up some old statistics and reminded myself that while I am not a "population", the statistics can help keep things in perspective. Each cycle, we have about a 22% chance of an embryo implanting. That means that the fact that it didn't work doesn't mean that there is a reason it didn't work. It just didn't work this time. And it just didn't work the previous time.

So we are going to go in and see the doctor on October 6th to sign off on some paperwork. We will need to have a decision made in regards to number of eggs to fertilize by this date. We think we have made a decision but want to ask the doctor a few questions first. I will start my new medications on October 8th, and only thirty days from then, I'll be back in the operating room again. Wow! This is moving fast.

Just wanted to give you an update and keep you entertained if the fork post earlier this morning didn't do the trick.

Lots of forks

So this post is meaningless, but since we are studying Ecclesiastes in our Bible Study, I thought why not?

Yesterday, while preparing for his camping trip, JB went to pull out five forks to pack. In the course of this, he laid them on the counter and realized we had twelve forks that do not match with each other.

Don't believe us? We have proof!

How did this happen? We aren't sure. I think before we were married, we probably snagged some forks from our parents' houses to help JB set up his first apartment. I also think that people who have brought dishes to our house for potlucks over the last years have left them behind, and, as a result, left us with quite a collection.

If you recognize any of these forks as a piece from your set at home, let us know, and we will get the fork back to you ASAP.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning

I am back.

I think Kelsey may be popping in with a blog today, but I didn't confirm. So Kelsey, if you see this, post away. Or post tomorrow. Post whenever you want. Everyone is asking me how you are doing. Tell us! :)

I am still trying to determine if my return to my own blog is good or not for the future of the “Life in the Polar North” blog. This past week, while I was away, I had more hits on my blog in a one week period than I have ever had! More hits the week that I didn’t post.

Go figure.

With my return, also, comes JB’s untimely departure. He, his brother Matt, and three friends: Ronnie, Sean, and Ajit, are heading six hours north for a camping expedition, where, I know, it’s hard to believe, the weather is even colder than it is in Rochester. They are leaving very early on Monday morning and will return on Thursday.

Right now, it is Sunday, and we just got home from a long weekend in Chicago. JB took his Clinical Skills Test for Step II of his Boards. It is the last national test he will have to take in medical school. We visited with tons of family and picked up John's brother Matt from Midway airport this morning. It was a wonderful weekend. Kathleen took us to a Dairy Farm where I saw my first calf being born. That was ... interesting.

To my guest bloggers, who so perfectly entertained while I was away, a thousand thank you’s. We all have our different opinions of who best entertained during my absence, however, if we go according to hits, it was the “girl who never wins anything”, Tara, who’s blog-day got the most daily hits. Congrats Tara. She only won by 7 hits, and only I know who finished second.

I won’t go into second through last place mainly because I don’t want to hurt Josh’s feelings if he didn’t finish very high. Secondly, Tara, pointed out some fallacies with the “hits = winner” idea. She, for instance, posted first thing in the morning. This meant that visitors came in once, saw her post, and left, pleased. Justin posted later in the day. This meant that people may have returned for a second look, or even a third, as they tapped their toes and urged him on. Justin then noted that Gabbi used trivia to up her hit number. Only Gabbi knows if that was truly her intention. Josh was just upset in general. Lesley didn’t worry at all of course, as she never does, and Kelsey, well, I am still waiting to see if Kelsey will grace us with her presence.

Aaaaah. Okay, the formalities complete, on to business.

I have to tell you, first, that last Tuesday was, a very rough day. I was glad we decided to keep our dinner plans with Sean and Tara later that evening. It was a welcome respite from hours of crying. There comes a point when your body says, “If you cry, once more, you will split a rib or burst a blood vessel.” My body was there. I spent the afternoon after we received the results, working on RLSF’s webpage. It is brain-dead work that I could do without having to pay much attention. I took breaks to talk via email or instant messenger to a few of you, to answer the door as the flowerman came and went (they were beautiful!), and to talk to Kristi, seemingly the one person that I was able to generate words with that afternoon (other than JB).

Now I say all this to say, that I was at the bottom. I was frustrated a hundred times over. JB, “Mr. Optimism”, who can always see the silver lining, was not impressed with how grey this particular cloud seemed as well. I was done with trying to have children. I was mad that this meant so much to me. I was tired of shots and appointments and the invasion of physicians into such a personal area of our lives. I was having some heated discussions with God. I was trying, as best I could, to figure out what we should do next. Go back for our one embryo and then close this book was my immediate feeling. If God wanted to bless us without medicine, so be it. I was done with doctors. Did they realize how hard it was to listen to another message (the ninth time, but who’s counting?) featuring disappointing news. The nurse told me that not only was I not pregnant but that they considered anything above a number “5” pregnant, and I was .0005. Hmmmph. Definitely not pregnant.

I screamed to the Lord for direction, for peace, for comfort, for anything to make sense of this. John was right there with me. His feelings perfectly mirrored mine. We actually talked very little. We both knew exactly what the other was feeling. We felt completely exhausted and weary and worn. Enough was enough.

Yet again, I had made “cycle partners” with women on my online discussion board. Yet again, the woman I followed had a positive result, and I had a negative. Each time I have connected with someone, and we vowed to pray for each other, I celebrated with them and grieved for myself. I was jealous yet again.

Throughout the day people kept sending me emails telling me they were praying. This offered me comfort, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t know which end was up during these hours. People have been praying we’d get pregnant too.

My new friend Jenny, currently resting with sticky babies in her own womb, wrote and told me that these were the years the locusts had devoured, and the Lord had promised to restore them. She was referring to a scripture in Joel.

Joel 2:24-26 24 "The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten — the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm [a] — my great army that I sent among you. 26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed."

Her words perfectly met me where I was. Yes! These years feel so heavy. I am so weary.

I remember when my dad’s father passed away. I remember my grama being so strong at the funeral and telling me that a lot of people must have been praying for her to be that strong because she could have never done it on her own.

I had an experience with what prayer felt like. As soon as I started telling people, I started feeling better.

When I woke up Wednesday morning, the clouds just didn’t look so dark anymore. As of Wednesday morning, I felt like people were holding me up themselves, with their own hands. From Florida and Illinois and New Mexico and Indiana and Texas and Kentucky and all over the U.S. (Even the Polar North.) I felt strong. The grief was waning.

I am okay. We are okay. I say that, and I mean that. It’s hard not to doubt prayer works when you don’t see it answered the way you want it to be answered. But Wednesday, my prayer for peace and guidance and direction was answered. It was as if God was saying, “See Wendi, I am here. I’m walking with you.” Things cleared up. My sadness dissipated – a sadness that had taken weeks to get over the first time. Weeks to get over the first eight times. In twenty-four hours, I was feeling upbeat and positive and, yes, that we could harvest again.

We now plan to harvest again in November. We’ll try again.

I have to wonder if this is what people were praying for us. If people were praying that we would try again, because Wednesday morning, things became very clear, and we both knew what we should do.

I will start my new medications and shots within a few days. It’s amazing that after so much waiting for past cycles, I feel like this one is coming very fast. We will harvest and then three days later, transfer again. We are currently discussing the number to transfer as it appears that they will do ICSI (this is the process where they “force” one egg and one sperm together.) ICSI should increase the number of embryos that actually do fertilize due to our “sperm binding” issue. I am also not sure, until we meet with the doctor, if he will again advise us to only transfer two sticky babies or if we will be allowed to move to three because of our two failed attempts.

Not only am I returning in November, but, ironically, JB will on his REI (reproductive endocrinology) rotation in November. He is doing a rotation in my doctor’s office, doing procedures on other women, talking to women just like me, the month that I will also be there. We aren’t really sure how this will work. He will actually be in the office when I come in for my appointments. Weird.

Some people may wonder why we don’t wait a bit. As I have mentioned before, our tests are still current. If we wait longer than the first week of January, we will have to re-run all those tests. Something that is financially, emotionally, and physically taxing. In addition, we are still at Mayo and still have Mayo’s 50% infertility insurance. If we move to Eglin, our insurance at Mayo will be terminated June 1st. We want to move forward while this only costs half as much as it does otherwise.

During the next six weeks, JB has given me homework. A book entitled Mind over Mood that they use with their psychiatric patients. (Says a lot about me, huh?) We are also looking into some alternative therapies and non-pharmacologic approaches to dealing with possible migraines and stress associated with these procedures. Everything seems so simple right now. But when those hormones start raging, I want it to still feel simple.

I have no reason to worry. This is completely out of my control. So I just need to trust. Thank you for praying for me everyone. I feel it. Please don’t stop praying for me to have peace and comfort. I really need it, and your prayers, really work. I know some of you are growing frustrated, like me, asking God how long you have to pray. Feeling Him during these days reminded me that prayer really does work.

They say the third time is a charm, right? That’s what I’m praying for.

Look for another post tomorrow. I have to regain control of my territory.



Saturday, September 23, 2006

Good Morning, Loyal Polar North readers!

This is Lesley, signing in from the Rochester Methodist Hospital. Lest you think I am neglecting my clinical duties, I should tell you that it's 5AM, and the only reason I'm not sleeping is because I have to be up soon anyway. Sleep or post on Wendi's blog? It was a tough choice, but the blog won out.

I stayed up all night thinking about what I would post on today's blog. No one wants to read about my night on call, right? So I thought I'd share something potentially more interesting - a brief history of how the residents of apartment 406 fell in love (that's me and David). This is a good story to share on the blog too, because John and Wendi were key players! So here we go...

July 2003, first day of medical school. David and I allegedly met on this fateful day, although I have to admit, I don't remember much about it. He was sort of quiet, and I was hiding behind Ajit and Tia most of the day. Love at first sight? Hardly! Over the next few months, those of us who were interested in finding a church home and meeting people through the Christian Medical and Dental Association Bible study often found ourselves attending events together. John and Wendi would often have us over for a delicious home cooked meal, and it was a great time of just getting to know each other better. As friends. John and David also played on a city league football team together, so we would often go and watch them play (as Wendi froze to death in the cool fall evenings). Yep, we were having a grand old time, as friends. Good buddies. The thought of dating had never crossed my mind. But then we started our gross anatomy course, and I found myself at Table 1 in the cadaver lab.

I had noted David's kindness to others and godly character over the preceding few months, but there was something in the cadaver lab that just made me notice him more. Perhaps it was the meticulous way he dissected out the brachial plexus or the intense look on his face while using the bone saw. But whatever it was, I was suddenly attracted to this guy. How I longed to be a member of Table 3! Because David enjoyed the anatomy lab so much, I knew that I could always find him there at any hour. Sometimes I would saunter in on a Wednesday evening under the guise of "working on my dissection". My heart would skip a beat as I entered the lab and saw him hovered over his work bench at Table 3. What a place to fall in love!

In November 2003, David, John, and I decided to make a trip to Louisville, KY for their annual global medical missions conference. (Wendi couldn't come because of work.) We split up the driving which meant that while John was sleeping, David and I had a lot of time to just talk. Have you ever taken a long road trip with someone and talked throughout the night? Man, you can get into deep conversations really quickly. By the end of the trip, we had learned all about each other's families, past experiences, passions, etc. Our time at the medical missions conference was inspiring as well as sobering as we considered what the Lord might have planned for our futures.

One week later, we had "the talk". Uncertain about the prospect of dating a classmate, I suggested that we wait until the 3rd year of school to decide whether or not to pursue a relationship. [I realize this is getting long, so I'm going to go with the abridged version.] Two or so weeks later, I had a plane ticket to South Dakota to visit his family over Christmas vacation. At that point, we shared our secret with John and Wendi and asked if they thought it was insane to be thinking about getting engaged even though we weren't even dating. They encouraged us that if God was leading us that way to step out in faith! It was kind of a crazy time, folks. Although we both felt a little insane, we kept moving forward in faith - I bought my wedding dress in January 2004, David "proposed" in February 2004, and we were married in June 2004. [A shout out again to John and Wendi for making our wedding awesome!]

Well, friends, that's an abridged version of our story. I love that story because it always reminds me of the fun times we've shared with friends over these past few years here at Mayo, the cool friendship we have with JB and Wendi, and how God can really surprise you with a blessing out of nowhere.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Good News! (CIA-Blah, Baseball-Blah, Holiday Inn-Blah)

I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico! It’s so easy, even a caveman can do it. (Sorry to offend any cavemen reading this blog). Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.

Anyway, let me just start off by saying that late last night I received a phone call from an anonymous man (Tara, was this your dad in disguise?) threatening how my blog “must not be funny” or I’d find myself in a pair of cement shoes. Being Italian, I know EXACTLY what this means. Therefore, I must inform you that my blog will “not be funny” due to circumstances beyond my control. Sorry guys. I know you were looking forward to it.

So, how could I top Tara’s CIA dad, Justin’s Big League debut (although, I must say, its not everyday that you get to be on ESPN-wink wink), and Josh “always the funny man, you’d better not be funnier than me or you’ll find yourself in the river” Huisman? Well, you can’t really. I’m just a really, really, really ridiculously good-looking short girl from Florida (aka the Non-Polar South) whose life has pretty much been not-all-that-exciting.

I must take this opportunity, however, to let everyone who reads this blog know that I love my husband and he is the best man ever.

Oh, I must interrupt myself to bring you this exciting news story from FOX News. This JUST IN, Walmart to hire 40 new employees from the Kansas City area to revamp the store's Sporting Goods Departments. Cool. I always thought Walmart’s Sporting Goods Departments needing some revamping. Hopefully these guys are pros and know a little something about sports.

Well, I haven’t got much else to say, except did I mention I have the greatest hubby EVER? Did I also mention that I really like Starbucks? No, I don’t think I have mentioned that, but for those of you who know me, you knew this already and are probably planning my intervention. There is such thing as a “Starbucks Addiction.” I will probably be the first person ever to go into Starbucks Rehab.

Before I go, I’d like to give a shout out to John…..good luck on your test, even though we all know you’ll do great! GO ARMY! =)

Well blog-readers of America stay tuned; coming soon to a blog near you are guest bloggers Lesley and Kelsey.

This is Gabbi, signing off…….And thanks for stopping by.

Editor’s comments: We do not endorse or support the knocking of baseball and/or its players. Furthermore, we do, however, accept any retaliatory knocking of the writer of today’s blog. (No really Justin, I didn’t mean to knock you. I don’t even know you, but it was fun. I blame Josh…..I learned it by watching him).


8,800 people each year injure themselves with what?

Thursday, September 21, 2006


So the pressure is on I guess. Wendi, Tara, and Justin all mentioned me in their blog and some even went as far as to say that I would be "hilarious"! Well, whenever I am put in this position it doesn't take long for me to fail. But that's okay. I mean, my whole life I have "fallen short of expectations".

I'm just kidding...

But seriously, the CIA, who cares...Pitching in the Big Leagues, yeah, FOR THE ROYALS! I mean, a lot of their roster is made up of future Walmart employees (I'm kidding Justin, you are my hero!). Really though, I have done so many things in my life that are "cooler" than that.

For example, have you ever been to MGM Studios in Disney World and seen the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular? Well, I saw it! HA!!!

And as I was leaving the show Winnie the Pooh was standing outside the entrance. Guess who got a picture with him? That's right, me! Winnie signed it too. I would show you, but I sold it on ebay for a hefty price.

On a side takes a big man to cry, but it takes an even bigger man to laugh at the man crying!

Honestly, I have nothing to write about. So I guess I'll write about my favorite TV shows. Have you seen The Contender on ESPN? It's a reality Boxing show. It's really cool! To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

Speaking of shows, have you seen this new terrible show called Duets? It's where they get washed-up B-list actors to sing with washed-up music celebrities! It's TERRIBLE...The funniest part is, the actors are better than the music celebrities. ( I just had to share that)

Well folks, I have run out of time...and honestly, I have NOT put my best foot forward in this blog. Why? Like I said, I am leaving Nashville for Chicago...and I had to write this blog in less than 10 minutes.

So needless to say, I am stepping out of this competition. I lose...

My vote goes to Gabby though! Gabby always brings the goods. Plus, she married a Kit. and that is just hilarious! I'm kidding...I love the Kits, especially JB. He's such a strapping young man...who will soon be a doctor...making lots of money...driving nice cars...letting his cousin Josh "borrow" cash when needed.

Okay guys...see ya...wish me safe driving! (8 hours!)


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

CIA blah! I pitched in the Bigs!!!

Ok, I made the effort in the title to downplay Tara's father being in the CIA, but how can you?! That is so cool! But hey, I had to try....just to give the rest of us a fighting chance in writing something remotely as interesting. If most of you know me...Justin, Wendi's cousin, Robert and Mary's youngest, brother of "Josh", etc...then you probably know me as the pro baseball player. And although there's so much more to me than pitching in the pro's...oh, who am I trying to kid, it's the only interesting thing about me! Don't judge me! But seriously, how many of you really wanna know what being in the big leagues is like? Men, remember being a little boy growing up throwing a ball against a wall or garage, pretending to be Nolan Ryan or whomever the star pitcher for your home team was at the time. For me it was "Blackjack" McDowell. Or women, ever wonder what professional baseball players look like in the clubhouse/locker room? I'm just kidding....but do you? In this blog I'll try to give you a little taste of what my experience with the Kansas City Royals in '04 was like. was 1 in the morning in the New Orleans Hyatt hotel dowtown. The Omaha Royals had just beaten the New Orleans Zephyrs a few hours earlier and my roommate (Zach Greinke) had just turned off the tv to go to bed when the phone rang. It was my manager asking me to come to his room. After hanging up, we both looked at each other and were figuring out what this could mean. What did he want?! I had pitched 7 scoreless innings so far to start the season off, so we immediately ruled off getting sent down or released. Which really only left that I had to be getting called up! I ran down the hallway, forgetting to put some shoes on. As soon as I opened his door I saw my baseball bag full of all the stuff from my locker. He reached out to shake my hand and told me "Congratulations. You're going to the big leauges." In the room was also David DeJesus, the current center-fielder for the Royals. It was his second time going up. Early the next morning, DJ, Mike MacDougal (who was also going back up afte finishing his rehab assignment with us), and myself took the early flight to KC. I didn't know what to wear, and after seeing those two in t-shirts and jean, I immediately knew I waaaay overdressed. But who cared, I was going to the bigs!

We got in and had to take a half hour taxi ride from the airport to the field. No, there wasn't any limo waiting to pick us up. And Mac picked up the fare. Don't worry, they reimbursed him. (Now I will warn you that some of the things I'm about to tell about the bigs aren't going to be
what your dreams make it out to be.) We walked in the clubhouse and immediately everybody's eyes on the team looked at us in shock and wonder! Two veterans, Jason Grimsley and Curtis Leskanic, walked up to us and asked who we're here for. They hadn't made the moves yet for who we were replacing!!! We didn't even have a locker set up for us! They told us to wait a second and just hang out. So that's what we did. We sat at the tables and watched as all the young players panicked and tried to figure out who it was going to be. Sure enough, they called in two guys, DJ Carrasco and Rich Thompson, and sent them down. Not the best way to walk into your first day as a big leaguer huh. I'll tell you what though, putting on that uniform was the best feeling I've ever had thus far in my life! It was the most comfortable jersey I'd ever worn. I didn't even mind stretching or shagging fly balls during batting practice...which most pitchers get so tired of doing.

We were playing the Minnesota Twins. I didn't pitch that night, but I got that call the next night. We were losing by five or so I believe and I had the last inning. So there really wasn't any added pressure. Amazingly, as nervous as I was waiting for the phone to ring in the bullpen, and warming up to go in. As soon as I ran onto the field and took the mound to throw my warm-up pitches, I felt so at ease. Everything else that surrounded me was different, the locker-room, the reporters everywhere, the stadium, the other team...but as soon as I got on the mound and looked at the catcher behind home plate, THAT was the same. What I did on the mound never changes, no matter what surrounds me or whomever is hitting against me. I ended up throwing a scoreless inning in my debut.

My next outing was probably the best outing of my life. Two scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers, only throwing 13 pitches...12 for strikes. I even struck out my first batter in the bigs, Alfonso Soriano. I zipped through that, cause I wanna tell you about where we went to on my first road trip....Yankee Stadium! And let me tell you, you don't get any better than that! Now on the road, they didn't tell us rookies this at first, but you don't ride the bus from the hotel to the field. It's one of the MANY unwritten rules of the big leagues. You pay for your own cab. I tried to hop in with a veteran whenever I could, cause they've made millions and don't mind picking up the fare for younger players! ha. I think I road with Tony Graffanino that time. Just walking into that stadium, the clubhouse, and onto the field was the most surreal experience I've ever had. Just imagine coming out of the walkway, into the dugout, and onto the field at Yankee Stadium. Seeing what you've seen on tv so many times, in so many big games, with so much history....Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, etc, etc, etc, etc. And to top it off, guess who was hitting when I walked out? Derek Jeter. And guess who was taking ground balls right in front of me? Alex Rodriguez. During our batting practice, all I could do was take it all in...stare at everything. Jason Grimsley saw this and walked up to me. He pitched for the Yankees a few years back. He said "It's amazing isn't it? No matter how many times I come here, I'm in awe every single time." I thought that was pretty cool of him to say, cause it'd be so true. You can just feel the history in the air. I didn't get to pitch there, but I did get to witness Mariano Rivera entering to Enter Sandman and closing out a game against us.

Sorry for rambling a bit, but I could write novels about each and every place I went those two months in '04. I hope I relayed just a fraction of the feelings I felt during those moments. And if I win this blog-off, maybe Wendi will invite me back to tell you about pitching at Oakland, Detroit, Texas, Baltimore, San Diego, or Minnesota! Or the time I finished my first inning of work against St. Louis, and while sitting on the bench realizing that the first three batters of my next inning were Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Edgar Renteria! You think that's bad! How about against Baltimore....Miguel Tejada, Melvin Mora, Rafael Palmeiro, and Javier Lopez! How did I do? Maybe I'll tell ya later. Or you can google me! ha. I haven't even begun to mention my hotel rooms! The view I had from my own suite in San Diego...whew! I also haven't told you about the reporters. Vicious creatures! Or the coaches and office people, who freak out after each loss or bad outing you have...and want you to watch videos or throw bullpens to figure it out right away! Ok, enough exclamation points. But as you can see, there's so much to tell and so little time.

I hope you've enjoyed this little tidbit of my time in the bigs. Stay tuned for my bro, Josh. This is Justin, signing off. You stay classy San Diego!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sorry to ruin Tara's Blog

Tara's blog was so good that I hate to post this on top of it. Please still scroll below and read her post. It is hillarious and very good. She has to have a fair chance to win the blog-off.

We got a negative result today on our blood test. This means that we are not pregnant. There really isn't anything else to say. My lovely friends will continue blogging for me during the next few days. They will do a great job. I will return for sure on Monday and possibly sooner just as strong as ever.

If you want to know what to pray for, pray that the Lord will give us wisdom with what to do next. And don't doubt God lives just because something crappy happened to me. I will someday get to meet the five children we have lost.

I love you all! If you don't mind not communciating with me verbally, I'd appreciate it. Any other way is fine.

On Naiveté, Trust, and Being Related to a (Former) Spy (by Tara)

I was honestly honored when Wendi asked me to be a guest-blogger this week. Then I realized what that meant…. I would have to entertain her vast readership. And—and this was even more frightening to me—I might have to follow the famous and ever-hilarious Josh Huisman. I also worried that I wouldn’t have anything super-interesting to say.

Well, many of you have probably read the “bank” blog from a few days ago (I don’t know how to do the fancy thing Wendi does to link blogs so you’ll just have to scroll down to see Saturday’s post) and, if you haven’t met me, now know me as “the girl who didn’t know about drive-through banking.” This is probably a good lead-in to what I’m about to tell you. Honestly, I must walk around with my head in the clouds (or down facing the ground, trying to pick up pennies, dimes, and other small coins that I hope people haven’t glued to the sidewalk). Alternatively, which provides an explanation I prefer, I am very trusting and am comfortable with the way things usually are and so don’t go searching for new and innovative things (or more interesting explanations). So here it is…..

MY DAD WAS A SPY. Yep, I am not pulling anyone’s legs here. Although sometimes I complain that my life is so boring, Wendi reminds me that this is quite interesting and that not everyone has a father who was in the CIA for 20 years. But exactly how interesting, not even I know. I don’t inquire enough, apparently. Something additional to mention, and perhaps something which is equally as interesting (although perhaps not surprising given the recent bank-madness), is the fact that I was totally clueless.

I lived overseas in South Asian countries for most of my childhood (until I was 14 or so). My parents worked for the U.S. Government as foreign service officers (or so I thought!). They went off to work at the embassy, I went to my little schools, and all was good. One time my Dad disappeared for 4 months on “business,” but I thought that that was normal (fine, fine, laugh all you want). Then we moved back to the U.S. (McLean, VA). I remember asking my parents one time, “If you work at the same place, why do you take separate cars to work?”. I got some well-crafted, fluff answer, and promptly forgot the whole thing.

I found out my Dad’s real profession one day when we were all driving in the car somewhere. I was sixteen years old (so I guess, either my mom or dad was driving and my sister and I were riding). There was no momentous “I’m going to come clean to my daughters” dinner or anything. He just popped out with “Girls, I don’t do what you think I do.” He revealed that he had, for 20 years, worked with the CIA (and could then tell us because he was about to retire). We were stunned. Arguably, I am still stunned. I felt so deceived. By someone who supposedly loved me! I vowed never again to trust men. Just kidding.

In any case, besides my mother, who had to drive him to drop off locations and make sure his disguises were “passable,” only my grandparents and godparents knew. At least I then knew why they drove separate cars :). As far as I know (which I tend to believe because my mom is NOT deceptive), she really does work for the foreign service. He’s no longer with “The Agency,” which is why I can now tell you all this. And what do retired spies do, you might ask…. lots of normal things, such as walking the dogs, buying groceries, making dinner, surfing the net, writing screenplays, collecting knock-offs of baroque paintings (I kid you not)…. My Dad has many hobbies. But what did he do?? This I really have no clue about.

I know that one time he had to plant a bug in someone’s mailbox. So he had to have a “cover” or reason to be at that residence. He does speak Russian and I suppose had to evade Russian spies. One time he had to eat wonton soup through an uncomfortable mask. While he is very analytical and reads people very well, he didn’t give any polygraphs to any of my boyfriends (who, as one might imagine, tend to be a bit nervous about meeting my Dad for the first time [especially because he already has a file on them… he he. And he’s so good he doesn’t need polygraphs to tell when someone is lying. Just kidding.]). But this is really where my knowledge ends. And where your intrigue starts.

So this is going to open up the floor for a forum for asking me questions (which I will, subsequently, relay to my father). Please use the comment button. Many of you have already asked me some of these questions, to which I have had to respond “I don’t know.” I am sick about being berated for not asking questions I SHOULD HAVE. So ….what do you want to know about what a spy (well, specifically, my father) does/did? I don’t know if he ever killed anyone. I will ask. Some of it is likely confidential, but I will promise you I will do my best to find out “da goods.” Bring it :)! And, despite my earlier comment, I am very trusting. I trust all of you. And I trust you to not make fun of me for not knowing about drive-through banking. Or that I didn’t pick up on the fact that my Dad was a spy. Tell all your friends to read this blog so I win the blog-off. I don’t want to get shown up by the Huismans. Maybe Wendi will invite me back someday :)

Peace, everyone! We miss and love you, Wendi!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Blog off

So we have all these guest bloggers. How will we will tell who does the best job?

Some people have been asking me about my web page hits. The counter I have at the bottom of this screen actually runs through a company (for free!) that enables me to monitor hits both daily and weekly. Each day, I usually get somewhere around 130 hits although I do have some high days (219 is the highest I think.) I found that these high days are usually a day that we are going in for a procedure. Which means you guys really do care about what happens to me I guess. It's touching. Really.

The website also keeps a weekly history. You will notice that I hit my all-time weekly high for two weeks ago with 1107. This was the week of our transfer. Sometimes I do start wondering if you guys are sick of infertility talk. I guess not. I use my hits as a guide.

This also could be really telling when we have our guest bloggers next week. Which one of them will attract the most readers?! Woah. Maybe I will keep the results to myself.

Anyways, I thought you would all find this interesting to see how many people are reading along with you. I have also had questions about whether you can share my blog with others. YES! Please do. Feel free to give the address. I have avoided putting it into search engines although, despite this, if you google "Wendi ___" with my last name, you will get this blog as your first hit. I can't figure out why that happens.

I have, for this reason, avoided using last names and other identifying factors. In the beginning, when I was getting two hits a day or so, using last names wasn't a big deal, but I have now been attempting to avoid using last names and too many details so that no one feels threatened.

Like Tara for instance. What if some banking company read my banking blog and decided they wanted her to be the spokeswoman for the new tube systems! What if Tara didn't want to b the spokeswoman? Not using her last name helps her avoid the unwanted paparazzi!

My new office, guest bloggers, and IVF results

Well while I am blogging, I am now blogging from my new at-home office. I am really excited about this room because it gives me a space to go instead of sitting at the dining room table. I think it will help keep me focused when working on RLSF work. I thought it would be nice for you all to see where I was when I was blogging.

In other news, today is Monday, and we find out this week the results of our blood work and whether or not this attempt with IVF has worked. It has been an emotional week. Saturday night we went to church, and I was amazed at all the people, strangers even, who stopped us to say that they were praying for us! Many even said they are keeping up on our blog! Word travels fast. It was so touching that I ended up crying through most of service and most of the way home. Crying out of excitement and fear and hormones, as usual.

I've had some spiritual insight this week, mostly while not being able to sleep and lying in bed. Man you can think some deep stuff in that situation. I realize that the Lord has already blessed us with these two children. We, as John's Aunt Betsy wrote to us, "Just want to get to keep them." I know there is a spiritual battle occurring for my children, and I know the Lord wants us to raise these twins.

As I mentioned, I have arranged for guest bloggers to keep you consistently entertained this week. I will, most likely, be surprising you with some blogs mixed in, however, I wanted to "have my bases covered" so you stay entertained.
So, gracing your presence will be:

Tuesday (Tara)
Wednesday (Justin)
Thursday (Josh)
Friday (Gabbi)
Saturday (Lesley)
Sunday (Kelsey)

Please support them by reading their posts and not telling Josh his post was too good cuz otherwise everyone else feels bad. Gabbi said she is not afraid to follow Josh. You go Gabbi! Speaking of Gabbi, you have to check out Gabbi's profile on her blog (Ray & Gabbi & fam). She talks about her twin sister Wendi. This is hilarious. If two people could look more different than Gabbi and myself, I'd like to meet them!

Again, plan on me, sometime this week, popping in with our announcement and other news. Hopefully our announcement will be a happy one. If we get a positive at our first blood test, we will return three days later for a second blood test to see that our numbers rose appropriately.

I know many of you are very anxious to find out. Please keep checking in and be patient. This is a tough week for us! However, this is also a very exciting week. I feel very hopeful this Monday morning that we will get to raise these two babies. We love you all.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cute quote on weather -- so very true

Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in awhile, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation.
Kim Hubbard (1868-1930)

Photos from Decorah

We sure are glad that we took our chances and went to Decorah anyway on Saturday. While it was raining when we left and rained periodically while we were in transit, that was the end of the rain. I wore shorts and a long shirt and was very comfortable the entire day.

We first stopped at a place called SEED SAVERS farm. This is a farm co-op, where they are attempting to not let species of plants or trees go extinct by keeping them going and sharing seeds with others. In one section of the store you could buy nearly thirty different species of tomato. They had hundreds of species of apples in their orchard (and you are welcome to eat any you find on the ground.)

From there we headed into Decorah and had lunch at a pizza place. We then strolled through the town and got the boys jelly beans at a local store. It was a fabulous day. Here are some photos so you can feel like you were right there with us. The leaves have started changing and the weather is crisp. Fall is in the air!

Did you know that this is how brussel sprouts grow?

Did you know that this is how broccoli grows?

Also, please don't neglect the bank post that follows this if you haven't read it. It is in need of your comments!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Tara's New Adventure

I hate to make fun of people.

It’s truly not in my nature.

But today, Tara Arness said the funniest thing I can remember hearing from anyone in recent history. I don’t want to believe that me retelling the story is making fun of her. Maybe it is. However, sometimes, things are just too good to pass up.

I preface this story by telling you that Tara knows I am posting this blog. After the laughter died down, and I was able to get my breath, I asked Tara for permission to share the story with you.

She said I could as long as I then asked my loyal blog readers to pipe in. You’ll have to read through the whole blog to ascertain what it is Tara needs piping for, but the picture that started this blog revealed a clue. However, don't worry. No more trivia. It will become quickly obvious. I beg of you to be honest and don’t let me sway you whatsoever.

Okay. The scene.

We are on our way to Deorah. (We did end up going to Decorah. I’ll blog about our trip and provide some pictures later. But for now … I must stick to important points.) We are on the road in the middle of some farmland. JB and I are in the front seat of the car. Tara is in the backseat with Cole and Hunter.

“Oh,” Tara said. “I had an interesting experience yesterday at my bank.” She pauses. We wait for her to go on. “My bank has a drive thru!"

JB and I look at each other. Of course they have a drive thru. What is she talking about?

Tara goes on. "And they had these interesting tubes that they use to shoot things back and forth.”

At this point, JB and I begin studying each other, searching for what we should say. Surely Tara isn’t talking about the tubes that carry your money and checks from your car to the banker. Surely she is about to make some sort of joke.

But we were wrong. Tara goes on. “These tubes are the coolest things. Have you guys seen how these things work? I had no idea what to do. So the woman explained that I just put my check inside, hit the button, and the check would zip right to her.”

Tara, twenty-four-year-old Tara, had never used a drive-thru at a bank. Twenty-four-year-old Tara had also never used a tube system at a bank. Scratch that. She had never even seen a tube system at a bank.

Now I must pause briefly for a quick moment of digression. I understand that some of you have never met Tara so I feel it important to pause to make one point clear. Tara is NOT an airhead. The girl is an accomplished pianist and flute player who got in to Mayo Clinic. She is, honestly, brilliant. And I don't care if she is mad that I posted that. And no, Tara, you don't have to tell everyone that it is not true.

John and I couldn’t help it. We started laughing so hard. Cole and Hunter then started laughing just as loud. Not only had all four of used (or watched our parents use in the case of Cole and Hunter) the tubes at the bank more times than we could remember, we can remember using these when we were very young.

Tara couldn’t believe it. “You mean,” she started. “These are not a new invention?”

We explained that they were so un-not-new that John could recall when he was a kid, having a lollipop come back in the chute when he was in the passenger seat with his mom. (At this point Tara made a joke about how old JB and I are, however, I will skip that in order to save time.)

“Well,” said Tara, in order to defend herself. “You guys grew up in Fort Lauderdale. I must just be a small town girl.”

It was at this moment that we passed a tiny bank in the tiny town of Decorah complete with its own tube system. It was at this moment that JB and I reflected in our three years in the tiny town of Franklin (population 8,000). Our bank there? Tube system.

We tried to think of other reasons. “Were the banks you used in downtown areas?” John asked. Our downtown bank does not have a drive-thru. Surely this was the reason for her lack of experience in this area.

No, they weren’t.

“Did you never drive around the back of your bank?”

Yes, Tara said. She had. Her previous banks had never had a tube system. (We aren’t going to even comment on the fact that Tara has been using the same bank in Rochester for three years and this was still the first time that she has ever put anything in a tube.)

Okay, so here’s where you come in. Tara says that surely, she cannot be the only person in the world who did not know about tube systems at drive-thru’s at banks. So please. Post a comment. I am not telling you which side to pick. However, I must admit, the fact that I am posting this blog makes me feel quite confident in which side you will pick.

* * * * *

The "cash carrier" invention sent money in little tubes traveling by air compression from location to location in a department store so that change could be made. The first device was patented (patent # 165,473) by D. Brown. The date? July 13, 1875.

The first documented genuine pneumatic tube (like we know today) was officially issued to Samuel Clegg and Jacob Selvan. In 1940!

It's raining

Well it's 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning and Wendi is up again. I have been up since 4 actually. Not sure the JB-meister is very happy with me as my tossing and turning now has him up.

We are planning on going to Heritage farm today. This was the farm JB took Ray, Gabbi, and Grace too last fall (while I was stuck at work). Want to reflect on their last visit to the Farm? You can! Click here for deep reflection.

Tara and the Ray boys are going with us. Veronica (aka "Victoria") is going to the Homecoming Dance tonight. With a boy. Without my approval. Just kidding. Ronnie is chaperoning the dance so this is permitted. Anyways, getting the boys out of Ebby and Victoria's hair while they prepare for the dance is part of our plan.

We are also going to visit Decorah again for a bit. I am sure you remember Decorah as well from our little side trip a few months back, but if not, you can click here to reflect. However, it is currently raining and appears it may rain all day. Yuck! We are currently trying to decide if we need to cancel our plans -- it is not supposed to be a nice day. Bummer.

Yesterday after work at Mayo, JB helped me get my computer from RLSF set up in our office. It looks great, and I can now do all my work right from home. This is extremely exciting. I am one step closer to completely being a stay-at-home writer. This has my dream for as long as I could remember, but not something I ever actually thought would happen. Being a "writer" is something people say they are, but all the while, they only have baking soda and a can of sprite in their fridge. My jobs are actually paying the bills at the same time. I can't tell you glad I am to know that if we do move to Florida, I will not have to find a job. I already have a job! I will probably look to pick up more local freelance writing there, but it wouldn't be needed. I'm pumped about this!

Last night a bunch of us went over to hang out with Hans at Rachel at her parents house and play some more Mexican Train Dominoes. Too fun! Rachel took a photo or two, but you'll have to wait until she sends them to me before I can put them on the blog. Unfortunately, I got hit with some sort of weird indigestion -- thankfully, the morning rain brought some relief to my upset stomach. Rachel always comes up with great food ideas. Last night it was "appetizer" night. Fruit, cheese and crackers, Tiquita (is that how you spell it Lesley) rolls, fresh baked bread from Tia, coconut shrimp and more graced the buffet. It was fantastic. The goodness may have led to me eating more than my stomach could handle. Oh well.

In other news, this two weeks has been the LONGEST OF MY LIFE!!!! For crying out loud. How slow can two weeks go anyway.

Also wanted to put a shout out to my goddaughter Logan who turned two this past week. Time goes by fast!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Today ... I wait. Tomorrow ... I wait


I guess this is why they call it the two week wait.

Because you wait. And then wait. And then wait some more.

By the way, I am still waiting.

Some lucky people are done waiting. I received some good news. An online friend who has been a great encouragement to me, found out yesterday that her second try with IVF worked. She is pregnant! Her first attempt had been negative and without any frozen embryos, this cycle required another fresh harvest. They transferred four sticky babies. Not only did it work, but her numbers were very high indicating that she probably has more than one sticky baby stickin' away. You go girl!

I have been feeling pretty good aside from two things: the first are my moods. I cry a few times a day. Warning: if you see me, don't ask me how I am doing emotionally because I will start crying. This coming from a girl who, prior to infertility treatments, cried less than a few times a year! What has happened to me? Oh, well they have forced my body to ovulate and forced my body into early menopause, and then forced my body into pregnancy. Every time I tell JB I don't know why I am crying he says, "Hmmmm .... could it be that you are on a thousand hormones and possibly pregnant?"

I just stomp my foot and walk out. No! That is NOT Jay-Bee!

JB is very helpful. If a TV commercial comes on that he knows will set me off, he quickly changes the channel before I start to cry. (Even something as basic as a detergent commercial could cause me to cry.) (This is not a joke.)

If I am browsing online he asks, "Will this website be helpful?" If it is something on IVF stats ... it is probably not helpful.

And he has attempted, despite the heavy studying he has had to do, to listen to me when I do feel the need to talk about things that there are currently no answer for.

The second slight issue is my back. I am taking these shots in my back. Yesterday, I had a really rough day with my back, however, I feel blessed that I woke up this morning feeling much better. My best guess is that the stupid way I have been walking in order to prevent my sore lower back from hurting (are you following here?) had caused me to basically pull my back out. Yesterday morning, it got so bad, I had to email Dave and Lesley and request the loan of their jeep to drive three blocks to RLSF since JB had taken our car to take his Boards. I couldn't bend more than forty-five degrees. How pitiful is that?! (Pitiful refers to the inability to bend and the need to drive three blocks.)

Some of you have asked when we find out. My only answer is next week. We find out sometime next week. Which day? Ummm ... (this is Wendi stalling because she doesn't want to answer). Basically, we aren't telling. Just like last time, whichever way this ends up going, we want to deal with it privately first, and then invite the public to share with us. I'm sure you understand. Those of you smart people out there, who even figured out last IVF that I was lying about the day we got our results (Gabbi! Kelsey!) probably know what day we find out. That's okay. My only request is that you pray and wait for us to give the news.

Next week I am going to be having some guest-bloggers to help pass the time while we are digesting our life privately and also while we head to Chicago. Tuesday my cousin Justin will be entertaining you. Wednesday, my buddy Tara will be entertaining you. Thursday, my cousin Josh will be making a return visit. So far, no one has agreed to follow-up Josh. In fact, both Justin and Tara said they would only go if they were able to blog prior to the almighty Joshie Poo. Any takers? We need some other guest-bloggers. Anyone? Lesley, Tara suggested you. You up for it? How about you Mom? (Oh man, if I know my mom, she just started feeling sick to her stomach.)

We are heading to Chicago for another test for JB on Thursday next week. He is taking his Clinical Skills exam in downtown Chicago on Friday. We plan to get a hotel in downtown Chicago on Thursday evening, and then I will spend Friday with family while he takes his test. John's brother Matt is actually flying into Chicago on Sunday (this all gets very complicated). He and JB are going to go camping with Ronaldo Ray from the next Monday through Thursday, so Matt will make the drive back to Rochester with us. What a guy! I will then return to my blog on Sunday.

Not that I might not appear before that. I might. You'll just have to keep checking in to see when we decide to blog our announcement. Hmmm ... do you feel frustrated at having to wait for answer?! JOIN THE CLUB!

Did I mention I am still waiting?